Purposeful Play by Kristine Mraz, Alison Porcelli, Cheryl Tyler. A Teacher’s Guide to Igniting Deep and Joyful Learning Across the Day
Purposeful Play
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Purposeful Play

A Teacher’s Guide to Igniting Deep and Joyful Learning Across the Day

Play is serious business.

Whether it’s reenacting a favorite book (comprehension and close reading), negotiating the rules for a game (speaking and listening), or collaborating over building blocks (college and career readiness and STEM), Kristi Mraz, Alison Porcelli, and Cheryl Tyler see every day how play helps students reach standards and goals in ways that in-their-seat instruction alone can’t do. And not just during playtimes. “We believe there is play in work and work in play,” they write. “It helps to have practical ways to carry that mindset into all aspects of the curriculum.” In Purposeful...

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Full Description

Play is serious business.

Whether it’s reenacting a favorite book (comprehension and close reading), negotiating the rules for a game (speaking and listening), or collaborating over building blocks (college and career readiness and STEM), Kristi Mraz, Alison Porcelli, and Cheryl Tyler see every day how play helps students reach standards and goals in ways that in-their-seat instruction alone can’t do. And not just during playtimes. “We believe there is play in work and work in play,” they write. “It helps to have practical ways to carry that mindset into all aspects of the curriculum.” In Purposeful Play , they share ways to:

  • optimize and balance different types of play to deepen regular classroom learning
  • teach into play to foster social–emotional skills and a growth mindset
  • bring the impact of play into all your lessons across the day.

“We believe that play is one type of environment where children can be rigorous in their learning,” Kristi, Alison, and Cheryl write. So they provide a host of lessons, suggestions for classroom setups, helpful tools and charts, curriculum connections, teaching points, and teaching language to help you foster mature play that makes every moment in your classroom instructional.

Play doesn’t only happen when work is over. Children show us time and time again that play is the way they work. In Purposeful Play, you’ll find research-driven methods for making play an engine for rigorous learning in your classroom.

In Depth

Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky was a proponent of the idea that children learn best when we build on their strengths, but accomplishing this can sometimes feel a bit frustrating. As we struggle mightily to develop kids’ stamina to ten, fifteen, or twenty minutes of reading and writing, we watch these same children deeply engaged in play during recess and choice time for long, extended periods. So while we firmly believe in building on children’s strengths, it can be frustrating when we find ourselves limiting the time we give kids to do what we know they do best: play.

Perhaps, we need to look at play from a different perspective; if the feeling of active movement toward a goal is what we call work, then play is the work of children. In fact, it is the work and the art of childhood: the essence of learning, discovery, and creating. In play, learners are developing ideas, taking on and assigning roles, collaborating, crafting the environment and deciding when to change it, developing and negotiating rules, and being active listeners. If play is the work of children, then to build on kids’ strengths, we need to ask, “How can we infuse an abundance of play and the crafting the environment and deciding when to change it, developing and negotiating rules, and being active listeners. If play is the work of children, then to build on kids’ strengths, we need to ask, “How can we infuse an abundance of play and the principles of play across the curriculum?”

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Reviews

"Some of the book’s most powerful advice about play pertains just as much to adults working with children as it does to the children. Play is a mindset. The role of play in the classroom doesn’t only improve kids’ learning lives; it makes teachers’ lives that much more joyful, purposeful, and sustainable.."
Elizabeth Moore, at Two Writing Teachers
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Email planningservices@heinemann.com if you would like to contact Alison Porcelli directly about professional development support. Email planningservices@heinemann.com if you would like to contact Cheryl Tyler directly about professional development support.